Nuance Ending Pursuit of Zi with $35M Deal

2/27/09

Burlington, MA-based Nuance Communications is wrapping up its long and sometimes contentious crusade to acquire Zi, a Canadian competitor in the market for text messaging software, which has agreed to Nuance’s $35 million buyout offer.

The deal, announced today, provides shareholders of Calgary-based Zi (NASDAQ:ZICA) with 34 cents in cash and 0.4 shares of Nuance (NASDAQ:NUAN) stock for every share of Zi stock. That values the company at 69 cents per share—or a 73-percent premium over the closing price of the stock on its last day of trading before Nuance began its tender offer to acquire Zi shares on November 25. (Hindsight is 20-20, but the Nuance offer that Zi rejected back in August was worth $40 million, or 80 cents per share.)

Zi’s board has unanimously accepted the offer; now it needs to be approved by Zi’s shareholders, at a meeting scheduled for April. Zi offers Nuance its line of products that speed entry of text messages, correct typos, among other features. The acquisition would also eliminate a competitor to Nuance’s speech-to-text technology.

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